Carole Franz Lewis, 84, passed away peacefully on March 1, 2020. Born November 18, 1935 in Weehawken, NJ to the late Carl Joseph and Esta Lillian (Wilson) Franz, Carole was raised in Wilmington, Delaware and resided in Readington Township, NJ for forty-three years with her beloved husband, William McKinley Lewis Jr., to whom she was married for fifty-nine years.
Carole attended the University of Delaware and then Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art to pursue her keen interest in fine arts and fashion illustration, later applying her artistic talent to working as a Fashion Illustrator for the once iconic retailer Epstein’s in Morristown NJ, where she illustrated seasonal dresses and women’s apparel that appeared in the store’s newspaper advertising.
At the heart of Carole’s life was her dedication to her family and her love of “elegant creativity” which she expressed through many different outlets including interior decorating, gourmet cooking and entertaining. For many years, she was also a tireless volunteer who supported Stanton Holly Trail, NJ’s longest running Christmas-decorated house tour that continues to benefit central New Jersey charities.
Carole also played a quiet but formative role in the planning and execution of the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, which was founded by her husband Bill in the 1980s. The selection and management of the numerous food and craft vendors, which helped shape the festival’s experience for attendees, was handled by Carole who brought her artistic sensibility to this annual event with great enthusiasm. Regarded as one of NJ’s premier family entertainment attractions, the festival continues today, now sponsored by the NJ Lottery, as the largest annual hot air balloon event in the tri-state area.
Family vacations spent at Long Beach, Island, NJ were also a cherished part of Carole’s life for more than 30 years, where she especially reveled in spending time with her growing flock of grandchildren. To Carole’s friends and neighbors, she will be remembered as a woman of great energy, grace and kindness.
Carole was predeceased by her husband Bill in 2018.
Carole is survived by her three daughters Lisa and Jeff (Brodhead), Kari and Michael (Zeman) and Aimee and Edward (Seaver); and seven grandchildren: Christian (and Cozette) Koenig, Alexandra Koenig; Julia Zeman, Elizabeth Zeman; McKinley Seaver, Martha “Mopsey” Seaver and Ella Seaver; her sister Enid Franz (and David Powers) and brother Eric (and Jetta) Franz.
There will be a private family service as a Celebration of Carole’s Life, and she will be laid to rest next to her husband in the family plot at Hilltop Cemetery in Mendham, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Alzheimer’s Foundation at www.alz.org/nj